Official Opening of the Mackay Beach Horse Races
Thank you. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Mackay, expressing respect to Elders past and present.
What a great pleasure it is to join you for this unique race meeting on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon, for the iconic Mackay Beach Races.
While Beach horseracing is certainly a novelty here in Queensland, one of the oldest horse races in the world also takes place on a beach – in the city of Sanlucar de Barrameda in the Cadiz Region of Spain.
The race preserves an ancient tradition of the local fish merchants who raced to the market every day in a bid to be first to start selling their fish.
It is so beautiful here on Mackay Harbour Beach, I wonder why it took so long for the idea of horse racing on the shore to take off?
Maybe the fish in Cadiz aren’t as plentiful as they are here in Mackay?
Whatever the reason, the Mackay Beach Horse Racing Festival is certainly a wonderful fiesta, and a landmark event for the Mackay Region. It is easy to see why the Sunday Mail regards it as one of the Top 10 Social Events in our State.
I thank the organisers, the naming rights sponsor, Mackay Airport, the other corporate supporters, including the Mackay Regional Council, for their support of this iconic event.
And I extend my special congratulations to the junior jockeys who will kick off proceedings with the Pony Race.
It is now my great pleasure to declare officially open the 2017 Mackay Beach Horse Races, and to wish everyone a most enjoyable day of racing.